Learning UML

My recent job change has not only meant that I'm coding C# .Net rather than ColdFusion these days, but also brought with it a whole host of tools and concepts that I've been trying wrap my brain around. Case in point: UML. I learned basic UML back in college, but then spent 3 years in a development environment that was actively hostile to requirement gathering, so what little I knew was lost along the way. Now I'm trying to get caught up, and I'm finding that learning UML is a tricky thing.

I've searched for just about every phrase, keyword, or concept I could think of that would yield a decent guide to crafting UML diagrams, and all what I got back were pages and pages of explanations of the symbols on a given diagram. I can tell you what a Use Case looks like, and what things are on it, but I can't tell you how to get form a Use Case to an Activity diagram. I finally found a quote that enlightened me as to what was going wrong:

As a UML instructor, I find that learning UML presents a paradox: UML is not a process, but rather a notation that can be used in a process; and yet without a process, students don't know where to start with UML.

Thats from this random page that references a "Five Step UML" process for teaching the use and power of UML in software development. Unfortunately, like most old pages on the net, the link to the full text is broken, and I've been left without a process on which to base my attempts at learning UML.

Any one have any good recommendations on a simple process that would help illuminate the gaps between UML diagrams?



Jon Hartmann, July 2011

I'm Jon Hartmann and I'm a Javascript fanatic, UX/UI evangelist and former ColdFusion master. I blog about mysterious error messages, user interface design questions, and all things baffling and irksome about programming for the web.

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